Coach passengers who have been stuck in queues of up to 20 hours have finally made it into the Port of Dover.

The port declared a critical incident on Friday as result of a huge build up of traffic at the port ahead of the Easter break.

On Sunday (2 April) the port announced traffic was now inside but there are waits of more than six hour at border control checkpoints.

In a statement issued on Sunday evening, the Port of Dover said: “All of this weekend’s coach traffic is now contained in the port ready for processing through immigration controls. Coaches have been processed throughout the day along with tourist cars and freight vehicles.

“The Port of Dover continues to work with the ferry operators and border agencies to get the remaining coach passengers on their way as quickly as possible.

“We continue to offer our sincere apologies for the prolonged delays.”

This evening P&O Ferries told coach drivers to head straight to the port to join the buffer zone queues, where advance passenger information (API) will be taken, but said “currently there is a 6+ hour wait to reach the border check points”.

Earlier today P&O Ferries said there would be wait times of more than six hours to get into the port – but many coach passengers and drivers said they are facing much longer delays.

Home Secretary Suella Braverman dismissed claims that Brexit could be the cause of delays

Ms Braverman said it would not be fair to view the delays as “an adverse effect of Brexit”.

She told Sky News: “What I would say is at acute times when there is a lot of pressure crossing the Channel, whether that’s on the tunnel or ferries, then I think that there’s always going to be a back-up and I just urge everybody to be a bit patient while the ferry companies work their way through the backlog.”

Ms Braverman added that in general “things have been operating very smoothly at the border”.

Extra sailings were run overnight on Saturday in a bid to clear the backlog.

But the morning the port still estimated travellers would face waits of up to eight hours, depending on the ferry operator.

The port previously said the delays were “due to lengthy French border processes and sheer volume”.

Port officials said they had been “working round the clock” with ferry operators and border agencies to try to get coach passengers on their way and more than 300 coaches left the port on Saturday, while the freight backlog was cleared and tourist cars had been successfully processed.

Passenger Rosie Pearson described the travel scenes in Dover as “carnage” as she was stuck for 16 hours with her husband and two teenagers.

Ms Pearson, 50, an environmental campaigner from Essex, was travelling to Val d’Isere in the French Alps on an overnight bus.

Charity director Maggie Gordon-Walker, of Brighton, said her son’s school trip to Italy’s Folgarida area had to be cancelled over health concerns of tired coach drivers who were forced to wait in queues overnight.

Ms Gordon-Walker said: “They returned to Dover around 2am and stayed in the coach in the queue until 9.20am this morning, when it was decided the trip had to be cancelled on the grounds of health and safety because the coach drivers would have needed a nine-hour rest break upon arrival in France, so the school party would have been travelling for over 48 hours without sleep.”

Ms Gordon-Walker, who had been paying for the trip in instalments, added: “My son is knackered and deflated. I feel sorry for him and angry that this has happened.”

Additional reporting by Press Association.

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